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Pastrami - 1st Attempt w/pix (Qview?)

Discussion in 'Beef' started by pokey, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. pokey

    pokey Meat Mopper

    We planned a smokin' afternoon with an agenda of duck, pastrami and ABTs, none of which I'd smoked before. We're planning a party for next weekend and I wanted to try ABTs before serving them to company. Anyway,since this is the Beef section, about the pastrami:

    I bought a prepared uncooked corned beef brisket, Friedrich's, I believe, at the supermarket. It is on the small side, a little over two pounds and didn't come with a spice packet. I bought mixed pickling spices and mixed it with coarse cracked black pepper, about 50-50 and, after rinsing, coated the brisket with it. It didn't really stick all that well, so I kind of pushed it on. Maybe I shouldn't have dried the brisket before coating.

    At the start:


    I smoked it fat side up for about six and a half hours at 225 and another hour at 250 using maple wood in the Traeger until the internal temp was a little over 190. I was aiming for 190, but for some reason, it shot up really quick at the end. I foiled it and let it sit for about two hours then put it away.

    After four hours:


    When finished:


    This morning, I sampled it by slicing a thin piece, against the grain, of course, from the center. It tastes excellent. The spice and pepper coating came out nice. Not too salty. There's no smoke ring, though, which I found surprising. I think we're going to use in an omelet with swiss cheese.


    Bottom line: I would call it a success. Almost anything I do on the Traeger seems to come out good. But I figure I need to keep trying different things to see how I can improve. Any suggestions are welcome.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2010
  2. scarbelly

    scarbelly Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member

    I  have done a few pastrami's and yours looks excellent - congrats on a success
  3. rdknb

    rdknb Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That looks good
  4. pineywoods

    pineywoods SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member OTBS Admin SMF Premier Member

    It looks good [​IMG]with the meat being corned and so pink already its hard to get or at least see a smoke ring most of the time I find 
  5. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    Looks good.  I think it has no smoke ring because it is pink all the way through:-}}

    When I do pastrami from corned beef, I don't use the CB spice packet.  I use a mix of paprika, corriander and cracked black pepper.   Then let it stand for a few hours in the frig before putting it on the smoker.

    I have been told that without corriander, it is not pastrami -- but if other mixes taste good to you, why not!
  6. what dale said, jeff has a nice patrami that even a novice like me did and turned out awesome. however, grats on the smoke looks good.
  7. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Looks really great to me!

    As was said a few times above----The smoke ring, if there is any, is hidden in the pink color from curing.

    Some people use a little cure on the outside of the meat they're smoking to make a "fake" smoke ring.

    This is beautiful pink all the way through, because it was cured properly.

  8. pokey

    pokey Meat Mopper

    Thanks. The spice I used was not what came with the corned beef, but generic pickling spice augmented with cracked pepper. The coriander does seem to be what makes it.

    Now I've got to work on the texture. It's really tough. It may be the meat, but it may also be the technique. The Traeger is a dry smoker. I'm thinking maybe if I put a pan of water under the grate, on top of the diffuser that covers the fire box, that would add steam to the equation and maybe help texture-wise. I'm not really up on the whole dry vs wet smoker thing, but I'm guessing this is what it's about.

    Also, it seems kinda like cheating to start with a corned beef. Does anyone cure their own?

  9. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    We make our own corned beef each spring.  We happen to prefer corned beef from eye of round versus brisket.  It is leaner and that suits our normal preference in meat.  Others say that it is too dry, but that is a personal choice.  Plus -- fresh brisket is rarely on sale around here, prices tend to be $3.50 and up.  The brisket corned beef point cut is often on sale for $1.39 or even less.arount March.

    Here is the recipe we use.  Collected it off of a Fidonet Cooking group a long time ago.  As I said above, we do eye of round which tends to be about 4 inch thick or more, so it takes three weeks or more to finish the cure.

    We use Morton's Tender Quick.


    Recipe via Meal-Master (tm) v8.05
          Title: Home Cured Corned Beef
     Categories: Preserving, Meat
          Yield: 4 Servings
          4 lb Beef roast
          4 tb Curing salt
          6    Garlic cloves, peeled
          3    Bay leaves
        1/8 ts Whole cloves (3)
          2 tb Whole coriander seeds
          2 tb Whole peppercorns
          1 tb Whole mustard seeds
        1/4 c  Brown sugar
      Combine garlic, bay leaves, cloves, coriander seeds, peppercorns, and
      mustard seed in blender.  Blend until coarsly chopped. (Note: works
      just as well to leave spices whole, just break up the bay leaves a
      little). Add brown sugar. Set aside.
      Trim roast (venison, beef, etc.), weigh and measure ONE LEVEL
      TABLESPOON of curing salt PER POUND OF MEAT. (Note: I use Morton's
      TenderQuick <tm>.)
      Add measured curing salt to spice mixture you set aside. Rub spice
      mixture into roast, pressing in well.
      Measure roast at thickest point. Place into heavy freezing bag and
      close securely.  Place in shallow pan in refrigerator. Cure 5 days
      per inch of measured thickness, turning bag daily.
      At end of curing time wrap and freeze or cook in your favorite corned
      beef recipe.
      To cook: Drain juices, if desired rinse thoroughly under cold running
      water to remove extra salt and spice pieces, wrap in foil and bake
      sealed at 300 degrees 2 to 3 hours or until tender. Or use in any
      corned beef recipe.
      Dorothy Flatman's Note: I have used this recipe with excellent
      results on both beef and venison roasts. Our family favorite is beef
      bottom round roast well trimmed. The flavor is very close to
      Shenson's Old Fashioned <tm> in flavor. The meat is a nice red in
      appearance when cooked much like the recipes calling for saltpeter
       I have set the serving size on this to match the size of roast we
      most commonly use, and adjusted the spices accordingly from the
      original recipe. If you use a different size roast, just have your
      recipe program calculate the amount of ingredients for the new
      "Serving Size".
      SOURCE: Adapted by Dorothy Flatman from a recipe in the Oregonian
      FOODday From: Dorothy Flatman                 Date: 03-01-95
      Cooking Ä
  10. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now you have one fine looking pastrami there Tia. Yes I do cure/corn my own beef and then smoke it to make some pastrami. It's really the best way to do things.We try to make as much of our stuff/food as we can just for giggles I guess. But it's really fun and better in the long run too.
  11. pokey

    pokey Meat Mopper


    Thanks for the recipe. I'll try it. It's a dry cure? For some reason I'd always thought corning was a brining technique.
  12. For a softer texture you can try steaming it. I generaly smoke it to 190 let it cool and then steem for about an hour or two depending on size. That was advise given to me from some folks here and it sure seems to work. As far as seasonings....if it tastes good to you, who cares. Looks good to me BTW. Congrats on your first.
  13. dale5351

    dale5351 Smoking Fanatic

    The cure does bring out juices from the meat.  What we do is not a brining -- but it does get wet as the cure goes on.  

    I do brine my pork and my ribs for smoking -- use a simple salt, brown sugar, pickling spice mixture in water.

    Pat1967 likes this.
  14. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hey Dale,

    I'm not being a wise guy, but you had me worried until I read into your writing. Whenever I put one of my recipes down, I never use the words "Curing Salt" anywhere. I only use the words "Tender Quick" to make sure there is no confusion. As soon as I saw your "4 TBS of curing salt" going with "4 pounds of meat", a red flag went up in my pea brain. But then I read more, and saw you use TQ, and I know that is exactly the right amount. 

    No big deal---Just a suggestion.

    I realize TQ is a curing salt mix, but we use 1 TBS ( 1/2 ounce) per pound, and the others (pink salt) use 1 ounce per 25 pounds.

  15. captsly

    captsly StickBurners

    That looks awesome!  I love the color on it!

  16. cowgirl

    cowgirl Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Great looking pastrami Pokey![​IMG]